Lately, I have been obsessed with dialogue. Does my dialogue sound natural? Would my characters really say that? Heck, would anyone really say that? Dialogue can be very tricky. It can make or break a novel. It can give you a fast track into a characters head or make your characters seem like two pieces of cardboard with nothing to distinguish them.
I’m a craft book junkie. I’ll admit it. But I swear craft books have helped me grow as a writer tremendously. My newest book that I am reading is “Writing Dialogue” by Tom Chiarella. I’ve just started the book, and I had the brilliant idea that it would be fun for some of my fellow writers to come on the journey with me. So, for the next several blogs that I write, I am going to give you a few of the exercises to do that Mr. Chiarella assigns in his book. Then I want to hear how it went for you and what you think you learned.
STOP! Don’t close this blog as the idea of ‘homework’ sets in and causes a panic to make you sweat. This will be virtually painless, I promise. And if not, remember, I’m doing it with you and misery loves company! Plus, we will be growing as writers, prepping ourselves to become the next NYT bestsellers. So here goes:
Exercise (Provided by Mr. Chiarella)
Listen to yourself. Spend the day recording what you say. In order and trying to grab every sound. Don’t worry about punctuation. Don’t leave out little words such as eh, huh, hi, etc. Don’t note where you go or skip lines to indicate the passage of time. Don’t tell anyone what you are doing or reveal what you are doing. Find some private moments here and there to jot down what you have said. Start NOW and finish when you crawl into bed tonight.
Do not shape what you say when you don’t like the way you sound. Save this document and type it up line by line. We will use it next week. Good luck! If your so inclined share your first few lines with me here. Here are the first things I said this morning.
You like the kitty? My phones dirty. I'm sure Inge would go for that.
I swear the first is not dirty!!!
The Marchioness of Mayhem